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Thread: Auto Focus Macro Extension Tubing

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    Auto Focus Macro Extension Tubing

    I am thinking about get a set of these and was just wondering if anyone has had dealing's with them and what are your thoughts.
    I would like to get a set of these but I have got one set but these have never worked and they were so cheap.
    And this is more to why I think they never worked very well. To this day I have not ever got a shot to keep from them.

    But these new one with this auto focus might be okay.
    So any thought on them good or bad will be appreciated.

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    Loves The Wildlife. Mary Anne's Avatar
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    If you are talking about Macro Extension tubes I have been using this Kenko Set of three for years http://www.kenkoglobal.com/photo/len..._tube_set.html
    They work good with my Canon 100mm Macro Lens and my Tamron 90mm Macro lens..

    I shoot with Canon And Olympus Cameras



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    Thank you Mary Anne that is exactlly what I was after.
    So I will go and order mine one I have picked out on ebay.
    They aren't the brand you have got but these are Meike brand.

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    I bought a set of cheaper ones of ebay and two of the extensions don't work.
    Maybe I was just unlucky, oh well it was only $47.
    If you want I can see if I can find a link.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    the possible variables in such an equation are too numerous to guess at, so ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Crysis View Post
    I am thinking about get a set of these and was just wondering if anyone has had dealing's with them and what are your thoughts.
    I would like to get a set of these but I have got one set but these have never worked and they were so cheap.
    And this is more to why I think they never worked very well. To this day I have not ever got a shot to keep from them.

    .
    If I have this correctly, you already have a set of AF tubes but they don't work?

    If so, what camera(s) and lens(es) are you using them with.
    If Nikon, I may be able to help a bit .. if other brands .. maybe not.

    A word of warning tho with macro, extension tubes and AF.
    In general, it is more difficult as an overall concept.

    Note that when we say macro, there are different variations on what this actually means.
    The lens and tube you use will determine the level of macro you're doing.

    The major general note to consider with tubes and AF is that you are trying to focus a lens beyond what the manufacturer intended it to do.

    so for a random general example:
    Say you have a kit lens(18-55) and it's minimum focus distance(MFD) capability is down to 0.35m(ie. 35cm).

    When you attach any extension, you have altered the optics so that the lens no longer focuses at infinity at all(that's simply the nature of the design)
    But now, it's possible to focus down to (again randomly chosen figure) .. 0.15m(ie. 15cm)

    depending on the lens, and manufacturer .. the camera and lens may communicate with focus distance as one of those variables.
    If the camera knows the lenses MFD is 0.35m, then trying to tell it to focus down to 0.15m is well out of the scope of the camera/lens system.

    it may be able to do so .. but of course there is no guarantee that it will. It'll be a totally random situation.

    Both the camera and lens will have programmed already into their respective memories specific distances for specific physical conditions of the lens and camera.
    If it works, then for some reason the system has been fooled into thinking nothing is really different.

    What camera/lens and tubes are you using?
    Nikon D800E, D300, D70s
    {Nikon} -> 50/1.2 : 500/8(CPU'd) : 105/2.8VR Micro : 180/2.8ais : 105mm f/1.8ais : 24mm/2ais
    {Sigma}; ->10-20/4-5.6 : 50/1.4 : 12-24/4.5-5.6II : 150-600mm|S
    {Tamron}; -> 17-50/2.8 : 28-75/2.8 : 70-200/2.8 : 300/2.8 SP MF : 24-70/2.8VC


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    ArthurKing83 thank you for your feedback on this issue.
    The last lot I had were of the very very cheap mob I think under $8.00.
    Then never work on my old Sony or my new Sony. And it made no difference to what lens was on.
    So I though buying a set that has got Auto Focus which I hope it will mean it will do that then I will be happy.
    They are on order now and if I get bitten again then so be it.
    There are no guarantee's these day and it should be easy to keep them hidding from the wife if they don't work.

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    AH! OK, so you're in a Sony environment then. this helps a bit.

    Even tho you now have ordered the new set(which I've heard good things about) .. of your old set .. at $8 they really don't sound like they would have auto focusing as a feature.

    Just to be sure you're aware, even tho a set of tubes (or other similar ancillary device) may be described in the literature as 'auto' it doesn't strictly refer to auto focus.
    At $8, I think(assume/presume) that the tubes you currently have are auto type tubes.

    All this may literally mean is that the aperture coupling is present in the tubes, which provides auto exposure.

    So you can get a lens that may be listed as blah blah .. f/blah blah, auto.
    What this (auto) designation says is that the aperture is stopped down automatically(ie. the auto name in the product) at the time of exposure.

    So I have (being a Nikon person) a few Nikon 'auto' tubes myself.
    The have no AF capability at all. I know this and purchased them for another reason(Nikon have never made AF extension tubes).
    The 'auto' designation is that inside the tube is a metal prong that connects the lens aperture lever to the cameras aperture lever.
    So I set the aperture on the lens(say to f/11). The camera holds the aperture wide open, so that I can see the image through the viewfinder. When I take the image tho the camera then stops the lens down to f/11.

    IN the case where a non auto tube is used(of which I have something similar) no aperture prong is present in the tube.
    When I mount the lens, the aperture is completely disconnected from the camera now.
    If I set the lens in this situation to f/11, the actual aperture is closed down to f/11. as I physically do it.
    The issue is brightness through the vf. There is none in normal light. The image through the vf is then too hard to see much detail to focus accurately.
    this type of extension tube is a non auto type . it doesn't allow auto exposure, only full manual.

    You can do a very simple test with your current cheapie tubes very easily to determine this point.

    If they are AF(as opposed to 'auto' types) they will have a series of contact points somewhere at the front and rear of each tube. The contacts are gold coloured points where an electronic signal is passed from camera to tube to lens.
    As another possibility they may be older Minolta screw drive AF tubes too. This could mean that while they may not have the electrical contacts, they may have a small slot on one mount face that lines up with a screw head looking contraption at the mating face of the other end.
    You may have both types actually(which would make the most sense for the manufacturer to make). These would be for the Alpha range of cameras(which Sony camera do you own?)

    As for an easy test to try to see if they do in fact work in any way.

    1. Mount them to the camera and lens. Doesn't matter which tube if you have multiple tubes.
    Does your camera have an optical viewfinder(this is important for the next steps). if you have a Sony with an EVF, it may be different.
    2. Look for a button on your camera that operates what's called the Depth Of Field Preview feature. Most higher end DSLR/DSLT cameras have one.
    3. Set the lens to a very small(large number) aperture .. as high as you can.
    if you get f/22 or f/32 better . use that for aperture value. You want to make this effect as clear as possible.
    4. Once the lens is at f/22 or whatever, press the DOFP button to activate the aperture.
    This stops down the aperture to whatever you set. Note that with an EVF type camera, they have a feature to brighten the vf to compensate for low light.
    The stopped down aperture will decrease he amount of light to your vf. I suspect(but don't know) that at about f/11 you may not actually see any difference, but at about f/22 or smaller you should see at least some darkening.
    There should be a click from the camera to confirm that aperture stop down is being made at the time. It only works while you press this DOFP button.
    You can also look through the front of the lens(press the DOFP button) and visually see the aperture being closed down(as you have the DOFP button pressed).

    If that happens, then the tubes work ok.

    Like I said before, a problem like this contains so many variables that it takes a monumental effort to write down every possible perspective.

    As for the AF part .. if you take a quick snap of one of the lens or camera mount faces of the tubes, it's easy for one of us to determine if AF is possible.

    hope that helps.

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    I put the one that has got the right thing so it will work on my camera at that time it was the A390.
    I place the lens on and look through the viewfinder and it is just black almost completely.
    The next thing I tried was to look through the LCD screen with the same results.
    I go outside and nothing has changed.
    The same goes for the new A77, I forgot to say I went through the white balance and everything and nothing has changed.
    Until I decided to put the Hammer through them as I had enough of these cheapo ones.
    I done all I could and I was never able to get a photo out of them.
    Thank you for you hard efforts, and you have done really well in the way you have explained all of this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crysis View Post
    .....
    Until I decided to put the Hammer through them as I had enough of these cheapo ones.....
    (but with a slight sense of despair .. which I'll explain later)

    OK, going from this explanation:

    ... I place the lens on and look through the viewfinder and it is just black almost completely...
    99.999% sure these are full manual tubes.

    The blackness through the vf and LCD is the telltale sign.

    The way the lens works is that when it's not mounted to the camera(or any other capable device) the aperture is set to it's fully closed down setting.
    (Have a quick look at the back of the lens. You should see a small lever protruding from the mount. This level slides around, then springs back. If you don't touch it, through the lens you should see almost nothing .. maybe a very tiny opening. If you slide the lever you should see the aperture start to open up. You can safely do this by hand .. it's a common way to see if a lens' aperture is sticky/stuck .. safe to do)
    In general most cameras will work that the image through the viewfinder at a hard set aperture of about f/16 the image starts to become black or is black.
    With Sony's EVF tech this changes as they can set the EVFs to bump up brightness levels. Through an optical viewfinder type the above is roughly true(it varies according to the type of focus screen used)

    Anyhow that's irrelevant. For sure your tubes are full manual only tubes. They can't set the aperture to any value as they aren't connected in a way to do so.


    BUT! ... (the reason for the slight sense of despair).

    Some of these tubes can be handy to attach older fully manual lenses to do the same thing.
    I have a few bits and pieces around for doing such with my Nikon gear.
    If you have any sense of curiosity for doing hardcore macro stuff on the very cheap, I'd hold off on the hammering just yet(i.e. they may come in handy one day)

    If you have no inclination at all for this genre of play .. let the hammer fall!

    FWIW: my best macro lens cost me all of about $20. it's way too long(135mm focal length) to do more than 1-2x macro, but at macro(1:1) level, it's a lot better than my Nikon 105VR(which cost nearly $1K!!)
    The lens itself is miniscule. About half the size of a 50mm f/1.8 lens. It's all obviously a bit more of a chore to set it all up, but once the setup is done, the rest is pretty easy.

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    I have bought a new set of tubing which will be here within a month as it has to come from China.
    And yes they are auto focus ones which will give me a new thing to learn and are just over $70.00.
    But not to say these will be better then the old crinkled up ones.
    I thought I had been fair to them over the time I had them. Not one shot was gathered out of them.
    So I made sure no one else was would think look what I just found.
    It was a good feeling watching then getting flatten.

    When the new set arrive I will post up 2 shots and it will be with them off and then on.
    I love macro so thats what got to me with them it stopped me.
    Though I had other ways to get the results.
    so not too long before I can get them on the camera and take the shots.

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    My new Extension Tubing arrived today and in the set I got a 13mm, 20mm and a 36mm Tubing made be Meike.
    On the same day I ordered these I also bought an old $10.00 note, both arrived today.
    So now I had a reason to try them out ans the new note would make a good starter for me.

    I put on the smaller one and on a problem, next the same thing and I was suprised how I had to get in really close with the large one.
    But it worked out real well. I am now busting to get out and try them in real life and not a quick staged shot.
    Really happy with them and thank you to everyone who were giving their knowledge on this matter.
    It might have seemed as if I was transfixed on my idea's but I was listening to your points.
    So thank you kindly.

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    Good to see some success Crysis.

    Just a note that many folks don't seem to have a good understanding of tubes.

    The shorter the focal length used and the longer the extension, the more close you can focus .. and increase magnification of course.

    You can actually achieve a point where with too short focal length and too long extension, and the only thing you can get in focus from the lens is the dust specs inside the lens!
    That is, you can only focus the lens if the subject is inside the lens .. obviously hard to do with some insects

    They can work quite good with zoom lenses where you add the extension tube of choice and then FOCUS with the zoom ring.
    So consider a situation where .. you place camera-extension tube-lens somewhere and a subject you want to get close in too somewhere in front of the camera.
    Then, instead of moving the camera or subject to get it all in focus, all you do is zoom a bit in or out as needed, in such situations the actual focus ring really does a bit of fine tuning of the focus plane.

    Was the $10 note of the Commonwealth of Australia variety?
    I used to have a pile of those old notes years and years back .. have no idea what happened to them tho.

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    Happy Shooting Crysis

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    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    Good to see some success Crysis.

    Just a note that many folks don't seem to have a good understanding of tubes.

    The shorter the focal length used and the longer the extension, the more close you can focus .. and increase magnification of course.

    You can actually achieve a point where with too short focal length and too long extension, and the only thing you can get in focus from the lens is the dust specs inside the lens!
    That is, you can only focus the lens if the subject is inside the lens .. obviously hard to do with some insects

    They can work quite good with zoom lenses where you add the extension tube of choice and then FOCUS with the zoom ring.
    So consider a situation where .. you place camera-extension tube-lens somewhere and a subject you want to get close in too somewhere in front of the camera.
    Then, instead of moving the camera or subject to get it all in focus, all you do is zoom a bit in or out as needed, in such situations the actual focus ring really does a bit of fine tuning of the focus plane.

    Was the $10 note of the Commonwealth of Australia variety?
    I used to have a pile of those old notes years and years back .. have no idea what happened to them tho.
    All of what you have said I have noticed with the few tester shots I have done.
    I can see these becoming a big part of my photography and this will mean a good learning curve.
    Really like what you have put down.
    On the $10 note it is an uncirculated only Australia note.
    If you can find the old ones you will be able to sell them and get a lens or 2.

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